Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just Bag It! Salmon en Papillote

I missed this French Fridays with Dorie recipe a few weeks ago, but I wasn't going to let it get by me, especially when it's so simple, healthy, adaptable, and flavorful. En Papillote, French for in parchment, is a method of cooking food in a folded and sealed pouch or parcel, and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but a paper bag or aluminium foil works equally well. The food steams in moisture from the food itself, or from added water, wine, or stock.  Vegetables, herbs and spices add to the flavor.

"A classic way to cook a fish fillet is to seal it inside a tightly folded package of parchment paper and bake it briefly in a hot oven. Known as en Papillote, this gentle method cooks the enclosed fish in its own moisture and creates its own sauce of natural juices. Cooking en Papillote is also fun – assembling and wrapping the fish and seasonings in paper – and it is thrilling to open the package at the table, revealing a beautifully cooked dish and releasing all the pent-up aromas in one heady burst...” Julia Child, from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

Because we're using our new grill almost exclusively for cooking this summer, I used aluminum foil. I started by making a bed of fresh basil, sprinkled with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

After drizzling the basil with a little extra-virgin olive oil, a piece of salmon is laid down (you can leave the skin on, or take it off).

It's then up to you what to add.  I used minced garlic, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced lemon, another drizzle of olive oil, and about a tablespoon of white wine.  Asparagus, snap peas, grape tomatoes, summer squash, spring onions, shallots, Italian parsley, thyme, and rosemary are also nice options.

After sealing the aluminum foil, the pouch is cooked on a closed grill, heated to 450-475 F, over indirect heat, for about 10 minutes.  Why even bother with plates?

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!


Cher said...

I kept thinking capers when I made this the first time! Looks so good...

Kim said...

Beautiful, guys! Just beautiful. En papillote is a great way to keep all the flavors in. Love the presentation. And the photos. Well done!


Bunkycooks said...

No plates means less to clean up. I'm all for that! We just had sockeye salmon the other evening that was cooked on a cedar plank. Next time we will prepare it this way. I have used this method in the past, but since I'm not a huge fish fan, I forget how lovely it is. Your salmon looks wonderful. :)

Adriana said...

Your salmon looks stunning. The combination you selected sounds absolutely delicious.